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The SoulBounce Q&A: Allen Stone Shares The Thrill Of Playing Live, Giving Fans An Experience & Life On And Off The Road

Photo Credit: Keith Estep

Photo Credit: Keith Estep

SB: You’re about to embark on the Radius Tour for the fall, and you’re taking some exciting opening acts with you. How do you choose your opening acts? You’re traveling with Bernhoft and JMSN on this tour. Those are some folks that can really sing, just like you can.

AS: Yeah, right? I’m just setting myself up to be upstaged every night. [laughter] Every night, I go to a city where there are a million other things to do, and I charge people money to come see a show. I know a lot of headlining acts will choose their opening acts based on ticket sales or whether the person has a hot single on the radio or so on and so forth. Maybe it’s less about the actual performance, if that makes sense. It’s more so about who’s their manager, what favors can I pull. You know?

SB: Exactly. Are they on the label? Blah blah blah.

AS: Yeah. Are they on the label? Are they dating one of the Kardashians? [laughter] There are all of these integers that go in to it. For me, people are spending their hard-earned money to come out and see me play, and they are supporting me and my business and my art and my joy. I just believe that I want to give them the best possible show ever. When I choose an opener, I’m very much involved with not only knowing their live show, but loving their art and appreciating what they do. It’s never about who are they with, who do they know, how famous are they. It’s really just about the music and the performance. We took this band out called Bad Rabbits on my last tour.

SB: Oh my God! Yes, I was there, I saw them. They were amazing!

AS: Yeah, they’re amazing. The entire tour, I was self-conscious about getting up on stage afterwards [laughter], but that’s a good thing because it means the entire night is great for the audience. The audience comes to the show and they’re like, “Holy shit, man. That opening band was amazing and then Allen Stone comes up and does his thing!" I just want the entire night to be amazing for people. They are going out of their way to be entertained and they are spending a lot of money. Typically, you go out to a concert and you’re spending a hundred bucks, a hundred-fifty bucks.

SB: Easily.

AS: Yeah, between parking, tickets, food, drinks -- you gotta get some drinks, know what I’m sayin'?

SB: Gotta set it off, with a little sip or gulp. [laughter]

AS: Yeah, so it’s really important to me that the entire show is stoked; and also, it’s an opportunity for me to see my favorite music.

SB: Right, it’s kind of selfish. You invite artists along you want to see.

AS: I previously took out Tingsek.

SB: I remember. I saw that tour, too.

AS: Yeah, in 2012. I did it mainly because people don’t know him very well in the States; he’s really popular over in Europe. In the States, he doesn’t really have a following, but this is one of my all-time favorite artists.

SB: Yeah, he’s dope.

AS: Yeah, how great is it going to be for me to get to see some of my favorite musicians play every night. Bernhoft, JMSN -- I love these guys’ art and what they represent. They’re true to themselves and they’re keeping it authentic. That’s a big part for me. When I feel like something is inauthentic, I kind of just want to spit it out of my mouth.

SB: Right.

AS: That answers your question in like this big, super, orbital round-about way. Yeah, they are incredible artists, and I’m thrilled that they agreed to come. Actually, Bernhoft is going to be staying on my bus with me for the time he’s out. We’re gonna get real homied up. [laughter]

SB: Do you think that you’ll do any recording together in the future?

AS: I’d be thrilled to.

SB: Oh my God, that would be crazy.

AS: I don’t think they’d care me telling, but Tingsek and Bernhoft recently did a song together that I have a copy of and it’s so dope, dude. It’s going to be on Tingsek’s new record.

SB: Whoa!

AS: Tingsek’s a beast. Bernhoft’s a beast.

SB: I’m already in awe of Bernhoft, and I haven’t seen him live yet. But from what I’ve heard, from the videos I’ve seen and when he showed out on Ellen, he's just crazy good.

AS: He’s a freak of nature, and he’s amazingly talented. He's one of those guys where I’m going to be super insecure when I get on stage after him, but it’s a good thing. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. If that wasn’t happening I would know that I’m not giving the audience the best entire show possible. I’m going to go out and do my best every night, but there are always three bands on a bill. That’s just what happens. I want to make sure that each one of those bands is killer.

SB: And that’s good that you want to give people an experience when, like you said, they spend their hard-earned money. You want their playtime to be quality.

AS: At the end of the day, it’s much easier for them to stay home and just watch America’s Got Talent or Dancing With the Stars or something from the comfort of their own living room. If they are going to actually get out of their house and spend hard-earned money on a show, it’s my duty to attempt to put on and curate the best show I possibly can.

SB: We, the fans, thank you for that. Like I said, I’ve seen you multiple times. All of those artists that you mentioned, Tingsek and Bad Rabbits, I’ve seen them open for you and they've been incredible.

AS: Hopefully, you became a fan after seeing them.

SB: It’s great that you give these artists a platform and introduce them to your audience. Hopefully, as you said, they walk away with a new artist to follow and buy an album or a t-shirt or something after the show.

AS: That’s what I like about it.

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